Royal Ontario Museum

100 Queens Park
Toronto, ON M5S 2C6
President & CEO: Susan Horvath
Board Chair: Jeff Willner

Charitable Reg. #:13628 2126 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 63 cents are available for programs.

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About Royal Ontario Museum:

Founded in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is the largest museum in Canada. Its mission is to transform lives by helping people to understand the past, make sense of the present, and come together to shape a shared future. The museum showcases art, culture, and nature from across the globe and across the ages. Donors giving to the ROM primarily give through the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation.

The ROM has 13 million items on display across 40 galleries and exhibits. This includes six million insect, 1.8 million invertebrate, 1.5 million fish, and 1.1 million plant specimens, as well as 168,000 pieces of artwork from the Americas and 71,000 pieces of Indigenous artwork. In F2019, the ROM added over 400 objects to its collection. In addition to its onsite exhibits, the ROM ran two travelling exhibits in F2019.

1.3 million people visited the Royal Ontario Museum in F2019. The ROM provided 117,032 free tickets through initiatives that remove financial, social and cultural barriers during the year. Friday Night Lights, a popular evening event among millennials, ran 21 events that over 53,000 people attended.

The ROM also runs many youth education programs. In F2019, 100,536 Ontario students and teachers visited the museum.  An additional 194,603 students were reached through travelling education programs across Ontario, BC, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. 468,953 people got hands-on experience with objects, specimens and live animals through the ROM’s two hands-on galleries. ROMKids programs, which included 134 summer camp groups, weekend clubs, and camps on holidays and March break, reached over 32,000 kids.

The Royal Ontario Museum has a strong digital presence. 3.9 million people visited the museum’s website in F2019. The ROM has a new collection management system to digitalize the museum’s collection. People can virtually tour the ROM through an eMuseum portal. The portal had 814,000 pageviews, up 180% from last year. 19,937 new items were published on the portal in F2019, and there are 48,471 objects currently online.

The Royal Ontario Museum also conducts research in the fields of art, culture, and nature. In F2019, there were 14 active field studies in 10 countries (including Canada).

The Welcome Project was the ROM’s multi-year capital expansion project. Phase one finished in December 2017 when the north-facing Weston Entrance re-opened after a major redesign and the Queen’s Park façade was restored. Phase two finished in April 2018 when the Daphne Cockwell Gallery of First Peoples art and culture was completed. The final phase finished in August 2019 when the Helga and Mike Schmidt Performance Terrace and Reed Family Plaza opened, representing 13,595 square feet of outdoor public space.

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Results and Impact

The Royal Ontario Museum reports that for every dollar invested in the museum by the Ontario government, it generates $10 in GDP. The ROM also reports supporting 2,940 jobs and generating $17.1 million in tax revenue across all three levels of government. These outcomes come from an economic impact study done by Deloitte Canada based on the ROM’s 2017-18 social results.

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The ROM’s fundraising arm is the Royal Ontario Museum Foundation, which was founded in 1992. Its common name is ROM Governors. The ROM and ROM Governors have independent Boards and are separate registered charities.  

The following financial review represents the consolidated financial position of Royal Ontario Museum and ROM Governors. 

Royal Ontario Museum is a Major 100 charity, meaning it is one of Canada’s largest in terms of donations. It received $30.6m in donations and special events fundraising in F2019. Administrative costs are 28% of revenues (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 9% of donations and special events fundraising. For every dollar donated, 63 cents go to the cause. This is not within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Net funding reserves of $41.1m include $66.4m in cash and investments and $25.4m in bank debt. Bank debt is held by the ROM. Externally endowed funds held by ROM Governors total $40.4m. ROM Governors' reserves alone, excluding donor endowments, can cover program costs for under seven months. 

ROM Governors uses external fundraisers to collect donations through telemarketing. In F2019, ROM Governors paid $644k to external fundraisers who raised $1.1m. For every dollar raised by external fundraisers, ROM Governors received 43 cents.

Compensation information represents the combined T3010 salary data filed by the ROM and ROM Governors in F2019.

This report is an update that has been sent to Royal Ontario Museum for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 13, 2020 by Katie Khodawandi.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 27.7%26.1%25.9%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 9.4%11.6%4.1%
Total overhead spending 37.1%37.8%30.0%
Program cost coverage (%) 1.4%9.3%10.6%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 29,56430,82830,782
Government funding 27,67226,89928,141
Fees for service 29,05230,61726,656
Special events 1,0578771,314
Investment income (330)2,8627,570
Other income 1,9451,4921,627
Total revenues 88,96093,57596,090
Program costs 46,38846,72943,343
Administrative costs 24,74723,69022,926
Fundraising costs 2,8693,6901,303
Total spending 74,00474,10967,572
Cash flow from operations 14,95619,46628,518
Capital spending 8,66611,8814,187
Funding reserves 41,05243,73936,556

Note: Interfund transfers between the ROM and ROM Governors have been excluded from the analysis, removing offsetting total revenues and expenses of $9.1m in F2019, $7.4m in F2018, and $7.2m in F2017. Funding received by ROM Governors from the federal government was gathered from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings. ROM Governor’s investment income is reported net of counsel fees, decreasing total revenue and expenses by $299k in F2019, $496k in F2018, and $306k in F2017. The ROM’s program, fundraising and administrative spending figures come from the charity’s T3010 CRA filings. Amortization of $12.4m in F2019, $11.6m in F2018 and $12.1m in F2017 has been removed from program costs. Administrative costs include $928k in campaign costs reported by ROM Governors in F2019.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 354

Avg. Compensation: $99,265

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2019

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Comments & Contact

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Charity Contact

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